As prices surge, India hunts for onions abroad

Representative image. (DH photo)

With onion prices rising sharply, India has launched a global hunt for the kitchen staple directing its missions in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and Egypt to facilitiate supplies back home.

Onion prices surged at wholesale markets with Lasalgaon – the biggest market in Asia – witnessing prices as high as Rs 5,500 per quintal. In Delhi, onions were retailing at Rs 80 per kg, with vendors saying that the prices may increase further.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash Shrivastava chaired an inter-ministerial committee to review the prices and availability of onions and issued directions to augment supplies.

Government has decided to “suitably liberalise” the phytosanitary and fumigation requirements mandatory for imported onions to facilitate speedy access to markets.

“Indian missions in Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey and Iran to be requested to facilitate supply of onions to India,” an official statement said here on Tuesday evening. This would facilitate immediate import of 80 containers and diversion of 100 containers in high seas to India, an official added.

The Centre has also decided to despatch inter-ministerial teams to Karnataka and Rajasthan to take stock of onion supplies in the respective states and encourage supplies to consumer regions such as Delhi and adjoining areas.

Besides, a team led by Additional Managing Director of NAFED has been asked to go to Nashik and take stock of the situation there and facilitate movement of supplies from Maharashtra to consuming regions including Delhi and adjoining regions.

The Delhi Government was also advised to accompany the inter-ministerial teams
going to Karnataka and Rajasthan.

“They were also advised to hold meeting with traders and encourage them to pick up available supplies in the region. They may also discourage traders from profiteering and speculative pricing,” an official statement said.

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